HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Island Mansion Mysteries
Author: Janet Chester Bly
Illustrator: Paul Turnbaugh
Publisher: Chariot Family Pub., republished1995
Related website(s): https://www.blybooks.com/ (author)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Bly, Janet Chester. The Island Mansion Mysteries (Published in 1985 and republished in 1995 by Chariot Books, an imprint of Chariot Family Publishing, a division of Cook Communications Ministries, Elgin, IL 60120). You are a computer game programmer, and your three dimensional game Dynamos has won a national computer programmers competition sponsored by Teledynamics Inc. The prize is that you, Sonja Huckaby, and Dan Estrada get a trip to Hawaii to present your game to the international corporation. You’ll have three days of hot sun and pounding surf with your guides Miss Myra Dela Cruz and Kikukawa. Maybe you’ll land a big contract. Unless trouble intervenes. What might happen? Your visit could be disrupted by a) a kidnapper in a helicopter, b) a volcano ready to blow, or c) a madman’s threat to the peace of the islands. The choice is up to you, the reader, with 32 possible endings, from silly to scary to surprising.
Formerly titled The Hawaiian Computer Mystery, this Kids Making Choices book for 8-12 year olds lets you create your own stories with the choices you make page by page. If you don’t like the way things are turning out in your story, you can go back and start over. You write the program. Along the way you may solve the mystery of the deserted mansion. Inherit a block of downtown Honolulu. Hang ten on a surfboard. Match wits with a man whose mind works like a computer. What happens in this book is up to you. And this adventure of a lifetime all begins when your plane touches down in beautiful Honolulu. Author Janet Bly is the widow of western writer Stephen Bly.
To be honest, I personally just don’t care for books like this. I get that the format is designed to show children how the choices which they make can affect the rest of their lives–and that God really cares about those choices. There are those who like that sort of thing, and that’s fine with me. It’s just that I prefer a book that I can sit down and simply read through without having to flip back and forth from one page to another or to return to the beginning several times. And woe be to those who can’t do the whole book in one setting because if they have to put it down for a while and then pick it up again later, they may be entirely lost. From what I did read, however, it seems as if The Island Mansion Mysteries has some interesting stories.